EXPLORING - CREATING - SHARING
“Even music that is distinctly subfusc receives performances that squeeze every last morsel of rhythmic or melodic variety out of their formulaic phrases, while the authentically first-rate really sparkle with imaginative life,” writes The Guardian in a review of the recent release of two albums with English and French Trio Sonatas by the Ensemble Diderot.
Described as “the ensemble for Baroque chamber music” by the German MDR and praised for its “warm tonal brilliance and razor-sharp definition” by Gramophone Magazine, Ensemble Diderot established itself in recent years as one of the foremost European chamber music groups performing exclusively on period instruments. The French music magazine Classica qualified them as “splendidly prepared to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Musica Antiqua Köln.”
The ensemble’s core consists of four musicians around violinist and founder Johannes Pramsohler, who devote themselves to the exploration and performance of the baroque chamber music repertoire. The ensemble is based in Paris and owes its name to the French philosopher Denis Diderot. It dedicates itself primarily to the inexhaustible heritage of trio sonatas, quartets and larger ensemble sonatas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A busy schedule and meticulous rehearsal have given the group a cohesion akin to that of a permanent string quartet.
The ensemble has been an acclaimed guest on stages and festivals at home and abroad, and was invited as ensemble-in-residence to Royaumont (France) and Aldeburgh (Great Britain). In 2018 it gave its acclaimed debuts at the Cologne Philharmonie and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.
Always taking chamber music as the starting point, Ensemble Diderot also appears in an orchestral formation. Performed in this way were Handel’s Concerti grossi op. 6, Bach cantatas, and operas such as Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Falstaff by Antonio Salieri, Croesus by Reinhard Keiser, and the oratorio Athalia by George Frideric Handel. Since 2018 the ensemble has had its own chorus.
Live concert recordings are regularly broadcast by international radio stations. Its highly regarded CD recordings for Audax Records, which have been referred to as being “standard-setting,” have been awarded international prizes on a regular basis, including the Diapason d’Or, Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, International Classical Music Award (ICMA), BBC Music Magazine choice, and CD of the Month (Record Geijutsu, Japan).
Ensemble Diderot is in residence at the Euregio Cultural Centre in Toblach, Italy, and receives support from the French Ministry of Culture, the Caisse des dépots et consignations, and the Fondation Orange.
violin, artistic director
“The real surprise comes from the orchestra pit where Johannes Pramsohler conducts his Ensemble Diderot with a refinement worthy of the greatest." LE FIGARO
Holding a PhD in Historically Informed Performance from the Royal Academy of Music and with an extensive discography acclaimed by international critics, Johannes Pramsohler is currently one of the most creative forces in the Early Music scene.
Born in South Tyrol and now living in Paris, he trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the Salzburg Mozarteum and has become one of the most versatile representatives of the profession, alternating his roles as artistic director and leader of Ensemble Diderot, with that as a guest both as a soloist and as a conductor at the head of numerous groups.
As concertmaster, Johannes has collaborated with Concerto Köln, The King’s Consort, Le Concert d’Astrée, the European Union Baroque Orchestra, and as a guest of the Berlin Philharmonic with its early music ensemble Concerto Melante. As a soloist, Johannes has performed with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer, the Taiwan Baroque Orchestra, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, and Darmstädter Barocksolisten, performing in concert halls such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Cologne Philharmonic, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
As a conductor, Johannes directed more than thirty performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas throughout France and a critically acclaimed production of the opera Croesus by Reinhard Keiser at the Théâtre de l‘Athénée in Paris. His most recent conducting engagement took him to Buenos Aires for a staged production of Handel’s Theodora at the Teatro Colón.
Since 2008, Johannes has had the honour of owning Reinhard Goebel’s violin, a P. G. Rogeri made in 1713.
Roldán Bernabé was born in Elche, Spain, and has lived in Paris since 2012, enjoying the support of a circle of likeminded musicians, and developing his career as violinist. Since 2014, he has been a permanent member of Ensemble Diderot.
Roldán is a member of Insula Orchestra and also regularly works with other French and Spanish groups performing on period instruments. He is frequently invited to play with groups such as Les Talens Lyriques, Les Arts Florissants, Opera Fuoco, and La Petite Symphonie, and has played with Pulcinella, Brecon Baroque, La Tempestad and Forma Antiqva.
Roldán studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón in Zaragoza, Spain, and at the CRD in Orsay, France. At the same time, he completed the Formation Supérieure au métier de l'orchestre classique et romantique in Saintes, France, giving him the opportunity to work with Philippe Herreweghe, Jos van Immerseel, Alessandro Moccia, Vicente Huerta, Hiro Kurosaki, Patrick Cohen-Akenine, Lina Tur-Bonet, Nicolas Chumachenco and the Casals and Quiroga String Quartets. As part of his career development, Roldán was a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra, playing under Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Rachel Podger and Gottfried von der Goltz.
Originally from South Korea, Gulrim Choï has lived in Paris since 1996. Parallel to her cello studies, she discovered jazz and improvisation. Fascinated by early music, she then turned to the baroque cello, which she studied under Christophe Coin and Fred Frith in Basel and Paris.
In 2011 she was invited to be solo cellist of the European Union Baroque Orchestra, and has since performed with various baroque orchestras, including les Ambassadeurs, Pygmalion, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Holland Baroque, Marsyas, Gli Incogniti, the Dunedin Consort, and Concerto Copenhagen, and participated in numerous CD recordings. Since 2012 Gulrim Choï is the principal cellist of Ensemble Diderot.
Her curiosity naturally led her to the viola da gamba. She plays a cello by J. Simpson (London, mid 18th century) and a cello made by Joël Klépal (after G. Guarneri filius Andrea, 1692).
Philippe Grisvard was born in Nancy and studied piano and oboe before becoming interested in Early Music. After harpsichord lessons with Anne-Catherine Bücher, he studied at the Schola Cantorum Basilensis with Jesper B. Christensen (harpsichord and basso continuo) and with Edoardo Torbianelli (fortepiano).
Today, Philippe lives in Paris and plays regularly with Le Poème Harmonique, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Le Cercle de L’Harmonie, l'Achéron, Les Nouveaux Caractères, La Fenice, La Chapelle Rhénane, Scherzi Musicali and Opéra Fuoco. He often performs as a guest with Emmanuelle Haïm's Le Concert d'Astrée on the harpsichord as well as the fortepiano. Philippe is a core member of the Ensemble Diderot. He participated in more than 50 recordings for labels such as Ricercar, Virgin, Harmonia Mundi, Eloquentia, Accent, Linn records and Audax. His first solo recording is a CD with works by Handel, released on Audax Records.